The Signature of All Things

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Open Book Art Collective and VanDusen Botantical Garden present: The Signature Of All Things. Inspired by Elizabeth Gilbert’s epic novel, this art show explores 19th century botany and the convergence of science and wonder. Featuring new artwork by Open Book Art Collective Members: Andrea Armstrong, Bre McDaniel, Jenny Hawkinson, Katrina Stock, Laura Auxier, Mahla Shapiro and Kristin Voth.

Come to the opening reception and experience:
-artist talks
-the beauty of the fall gardens
-activities for children (a microscope with ferns and mosses!)

We can’t wait to see you there!

“The whole sphere of air that surrounds us, Alma, is alive with invisible attractions — electric, magnetic, fiery and thoughtful. There is a universal sympathy all around us… When we cease all argument and debate — both internal and external — our true questions can be heard and answered…That is the gathering of magic.” – The Signature of All Things

*Please note: Admittance to the show is free but you will still need to purchase tickets to go into the gardens.

Only an Inkling…

Join us for an Open Book Art Collective exhibit inspired by the works of The Inklings and their literary mentors. This show is in conjunction with the Verge Conference 2016: Arts & The Inklings hosted by The School of Art, Media, and Culture at Trinity Western University.

Click here to learn more about the conference and purchase tickets.
September 21 – Oct 17
September 29 @ 6pm | Opening Reception and Artist Talk | President’s Reception Hall, adjacent to President’s Gallery
President’s Gallery, Reimer Student Centre 2nd floor
Trinity Western University
7600 Glover Road, Langley BC
Laura Auxier, Jenny Hawkinson, Andrea Armstrong, Bre McDaniel, Katrina Stock, Kristin Voth. OBAC is pleased to have guest artists Simeon Pang, Julia Soderholm, and Melanie Colenutt join us for this exhibit!

The Inklings were a group of authors that included C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Charles Williams that met as an informal literary group in Oxford. They, along with early authors such as G.K. Chesterton, George MacDonald, and Dorothy L. Sayers shaped contemporary literature, particularly fantasy, as we know it today.

Introducing Our Next Book: Duke by Sara Tilley

Open Book Art Collective is pleased to introduce our next book, Duke by Canada’s Sara Tilley.

Described as, “A dense and challenging but wonderfully rewarding—and technically impressive—novel”, Brett Josef Grubisic. Duke is proving to be fascinating, complex and chalk full of gorgeous imagery that OBAC can’t wait to sink our teeth into. More details to come about our upcoming Fall show (it’s going to be pretty exciting).

August just started, so pick up a copy and get your Summer reading on!


This review was written by Joan Sullivan and published in The Telegram on March 28, 2015. Copied below in its entirety.

“Duke” is Sara Tilley’s second novel; her debut was “Skin Room,” in 2008. Not that she has been idle as a writer, or as a theatre artist. Tilley has a theatre production company (“She Said Yes!”), and she acts, directs, publishes short stories and performs as a clown.
And, with this work, her many interests and talents have drawn together.
For example, Tilley’s writing process included crafting and wearing masks when she wrote from the perspective of her two main characters. Such immersion drenches the writing of “Duke,” which is blazingly authentic, with an embodiment measuring an in-the-round 360 degrees, and is as faithful to its time period as it is immediate to the reader.
“Skin Room” (deservedly) won two important awards, and “Duke,” is a very strong followup. From its genesis in a discovery of old family letters and postcards and other ephemera, it expands into a text that rethinks and rejigs the very format of a novel.
Even its narrative is unconventional. It’s part travelogue, a journey through outport Newfoundland and the Canadian North, but it’s a trip through time as well.
The chapters are all specifically dated, with entries from June 30, 1893 or Nov. 21, 1912, all ranging from the late 19th century towards the middle of the 20th.
The text is densely idiosyncratic, poetic and precise. Many words are capitalized (“there’s a Madness that can set in when too much Drink & Flesh abound for you to see straight”), spaces usually stand in for punctuation, and some material is crossed out (although still legible).
This is not random, but calibrated to the time of the events and the emotions of the person experiencing them. Thus it is never confusing. Tilley keeps the text geared towards clarity and this typesetting infuses a visual element.
The protagonist of “Duke” is William Marmaduke Till(e)y. Unreliable narrators are a genre of their own, of course, but this is something else. Duke is young and frank, and considers himself to be vulnerable and naïve, but he is also full of secrets. His openness is also a screen. The revelations that come out are prompted by encounters and discoveries as well as by memories that are themselves attached to the braid of time.
The book starts in June 1906, as Duke is approaching Dawson City, working as a deckhand alongside his cousin, Clare. He admires Clare, who is popular with the crew, a good man to work with, and an even better friend to party with. Clare looks out for the younger man, guiding him through the rather lawless exuberance of Dawson. But it is obvious that, in more ways than one, Duke is far from home.
Duke is from Newman’s Cove, “N.F.L.D.” His father was a merchant, but has lost his store and it has fallen to Duke to earn money and redeem the family name.
He is travelling to meet his older brother, Bob, who has been out of touch with the family for some time, but at last report was working a gold stake in the Yukon. The plan is to labour with Bob for two years, sending money home all the while, so the family can reclaim their enterprise and place in their community.
But finding someone in the Yukon bush is more of a challenge than Duke anticipated. And what he does meet when he gets there will change his character, his way of looking at the world and the direction of his life.
“I love it when I’m working,” Duke thinks, “but when alone in cabin by fire at night I am like a great sad stone, bone-tired, heavier than the heaviest of living things & weighed down with dark thoughts, squid-ink clouds of them.”
The bulk of the story is divided into five books, such as “The River” or “The Camp,” with a clutch of chapters, titled “Her Adolescence,” devoted to Duke’s oldest child, Eva. These give us another perspective on Duke, and the consequences of the decisions he has made. They are also written more traditionally, which adds contrasting texture to the layers and complexities of Duke’s thinking.
The dialogue is spot on. Tilley did deep research into slang (“I feel like I’m a real Rush Lad now”). Equally on target is the detailed evocation of several different experiences and places and times. This reflects Tilley’s thoughtful and extensive archival research, down to the whiskey in Duke’s bottle and the boots on his feet.
“Duke” is a ground-breaking achievement — text-breaking, everything-breaking. It’s breathtaking.

Joan Sullivan is a St. John’s-based journalist, author and editor of The Newfoundland Quarterly.

‘Dear Life’ Gallery

Alice Munro has mastered the craft of saying a lot with a little, and consistently captures an essence of Canadiana in person and place in her numerous short stories. In her most recent collection, Dear Life, she allows the reader to witness subtle yet pivotal experiences of her characters’ lives within a familiar Canadian landscape. Munro constructs vignettes that seem to be like significant links in domino chains of events-coming of ages; accidents; close encounters- though we as readers are left behind at the end of each story to imagine the fallout.

Munro’s stories are not expansive or epic, yet when magnified they reveal rich symbolism paired with characters whose complex networks and personal histories intersect. This is the material that the participating artists have drawn on to curate this collection of work.

The Open Book Art Collective seeks to create a visual/literary dialogue with art objects that are both informed by and informing the literature. Each individual artist has applied their medium to two short stories from Dear Life, exploring broader themes of recollection, place, banality and nostalgia. With painting, encaustic, drawing, sculpture, photography and textiles. Dear Life is a sensitive exploration into what it means to be human.

‘Dear Life’ Exhibited at The Moat Gallery, Central Vancouver Public Library, from Sept 2nd-Sept 26th, 2014.

An opening reception was held at The Shack Gallery on August 28th, 2014.

‘Dear Life’ Opening Night and VPL Exhibit Set-UP

‘Dear Life’ is an exhibition by the Open Book Art Collective, inspired by a book of short stories by Nobel Prize Winner Alice Munro.

‘Dear Life’ Exhibited at The Moat Gallery, Central Vancouver Public Library from Sept 2nd-Sept 26th,  2014.

An opening reception was held at The Shack Gallery on August 28th, 2014.